The IRS recently reported taxpayers being targeted by very complex phone scams occurring in nearly every state across the country.
Upon receiving these phone calls, victims are told they owe money to the IRS and any balance due must be paid immediately via wire transfer or a pre-loaded debit card. If the person refuses to give this fake agent their cooperation, they are threatened with arrest, suspension of a business or driver’s license, and if the victim is a recent immigrant, deportation.
The IRS stated that they would not ask for taxpayer’s credit card numbers, pre-paid debit cards or wire transfers over the phone. If the caller is threatening the taxpayer in any way, this is a sign that it is not an IRS agent calling and you should hang up. The IRS typically makes their first contact with the taxpayer in regard to an issue via mail.
In addition to the aforementioned signs of this phone scam, other warnings include:
- The use of common first and last names, ex. John Smith
- Scammers may be able to state the taxpayer’s last 4-digits of their social security number
- Fake IRS e-mails may be sent to the victim to confirm the fake phone call
- In some cases, the scammer may hang-up on the victim if no cooperation is given, and another scammer calls back pretending to be with the DMV or police.
- Scammers are able to manipulate the caller-id to match either the IRS toll-free number or that of the DMV/police station
It is important to take action if you receive a phone call like this, by either calling the IRS if know you owe taxes or the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration if you are unsure. Either way, the IRS encourages that you report this scam to the Federal Trade Commission and add “IRS Telephone Scam” to the complaint.
If you have questions regarding this matter, please do not hesitate to contact us.